When The World Is Insane, Satire Is Pointless: Part CXXXIV

Remember earlier in this week, when I ran the video of Seth Dillon of Babylon Bee echoing my complaint that when the world is insane, satire is impossible?

I had one of those moments at something like 2AM, when the cat woke me up and I checked thje news.

I read a news story that I thought was either a weird dream at best, or a not-especially-deft bit of satire by some Babylon Bee knockoff at worst. I went back to bed.

And woke up to find it was neither:

Victoria’s Secret is replacing its supermodel angels with seven high-profile women known for their accomplishments rather than their figures in its evolving brand to help “inspire women.”

The lingerie company announced on Wednesday that its new VS Collective campaign aims to “positively impact the lives of women” with its products, experiences and initiatives.

The campaign also includes new partnerships with professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe, actor and producer Priyanka Chopra Jonas, world champion free skier Eileen Gu, model, refugee and mental wellness supporter Adut Akech, body advocate and model  Paloma Elsesser, journalist Amanda de Cadenet and LGBTQIA+ activist Valentina Sampaio.

Look – I kind of got Viotoria’s Secret’s 2019 decision to ditch the “Angels” and their annual cheeseca; not being a marketer, I’m not sure what the net pros and cons of “pelting your target demographic with images of women that were mostly fantasy objects for men” versus “selling the idea that you kind of are that fantasy, for that special someone, if you buy our unmentionables”.

I suppose it’d be more or less like having Wilt Chamberlain endorse an Erectils Dysfunction remedy; half of the audience might think “THAT’LL HELP ME BANG 20,000 WOMEN TOO!”, and the other half could get…inteimidated?

I guess I’ll let the marketeers market.

So while I can intellectually understand the idea that Victoria’s Secret might shy away from their harem of supermodel “Angels” (complete with some of the more Hefner-y aspects of that image), and simultaneously the idea of feminists wanting companies to use more examples of female empowerment in marketing…

…I guess I’m struggling to see where or why a business and industry that produces lingerie, a milieu which ostensibly exists to make women feel sexy for their significant others, sees itself as a vehicle for that sort of empowerment.

Especially given the role models they’ve selected. The linked article lists :

…actor and producer Priyanka Chopra Jonas, world champion free skier Eileen Gu, model, refugee and mental wellness supporter Adut Akech, body advocate and model  Paloma Elsesser, journalist Amanda de Cadenet and LGBTQIA+ activist Valentina Sampaio

…most of whom fit fairly squarely into the modern current western notion of “beauty”…

…and probably the most “controversial” of the picks…

…Megan Rapinoe, a woman whose entire claim to fame is successfully chasing a ball around a field and stridently proclaiming the dominant social narrative on cue in front of cameras, and who also matches the current western notion of beauty, if you have a secret thing for Reinhard Heydrich.

Beiing neither a lingerie buyer, a second-wave feminist nor a Heydrophile, I am probably not the one to comment.

I’m still trying to figure out if Victoria’s Secret, the brand, is…:

  • terminally beset by executives under the spell of “woke” culture
  • trying to “shock” its way out of a market doldrum

Either way, I think I’m gonna buy stock in whatever VS’s more traditional competitors might be. It just seems…market-prudent.

10 thoughts on “When The World Is Insane, Satire Is Pointless: Part CXXXIV

  1. I agree. Ya know, go woke go broke.  And it will be a dead brand.

    Rapinoe got a Subway commercial out of her fame.  She kicks a soccer ball at a phone and the ball does a menu swipe for online ordering…  I think this is the stupidest ad I’ve ever seen in my life and it bugs me to no end.

  2. Well, the #1 thing in marketing (well, after “location, location, location”) is “know your audience.” Who is buying your widget? Is more lingerie bought by men for their wives/SO’s because they buy the fantasy, or purchased by women because they feel empowered? Is it half and half? If men make the biggest purchases, is a guy going to be moved by a model who says, “F-you” instead of, “F-me”? I guess we’ll find out.

    And how about all these powerful women they’re using? I think it’s great if the advertising is more “real”, but aren’t there at least a few mixed messages in saying, “Look at this powerful, successful woman…in her underwear”?

  3. Good point about empowered women Night Writer.

    Women, get a bunch of degrees, get powerful jobs, totally sell out by posing in your underwear.

  4. Back in the 80s when VS saw it’s big growth, it’s competitors were the ever so close to porn Frederick’s of Hollywood, the pretty pornographic Adam and Eve, and then the unapologetic porn businesses. VS focused on glamour and beauty and removed to as great an extent possible anything pornographic. Women could feel comfortable there. Husbands approved. It was all sexy and romantic and what’s wrong with that?

    Think about it, they sold string bikinis in malls where families spent their Saturdays. Effing brilliant.

    Thirty years go by and there are multiple vendors using the same shtick (do a web search on “lingerie stores”). Target sells lingerie. Etsy does. It’s everywhere. This is the situation that VS finds itself in and so they decided their “situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture”. Using Megan Rapinoe and those other feminist weirdos pretty much fits that bill. That’s why this is happening.

  5. I have several female friends that I have met through the years. About 10 years ago, I remember one of our group talking about buying his wife something from VS for Christmas. One of the women asked him if that was on her list, to which he replied, no. One of the other women laughed and told him something that I always remembered. “Unless she leaves the catalog on your pillow, open to the page, with the item circled in red, do not buy her anything from there!”

    On another note, when I was a newly minted sale representative in Los Angeles, one of my accounts was Frederick’s of Hollywood. My first meeting with my contact there, was in a conference room where he was in the middle of a “fashion show”, where nubile young ladies paraded across a large conference table that served as a runway, modeling the latest designs. Of course, being newlyweds and young, my wife was OK when I brought home a couple of free samples. 😂

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  7. VS is buying indulgences for the sin of objectifying female bodies. They have lost market share to upstart internet companies. I wonder how many mall outlets they’ve had to close. Rapinoe is a troll. The rest I never heard of.

  8. As far as I can tell, VS really designs things for anorexics with plastic surgery, and there’s not a whole lot of good that can be done by changing the body types of the models, because the product still doesn’t work for an average woman. So really they’re changing models whose bodies work with the product for models whose bodies don’t work with the product.

    The bright side, per the Babylon Bee, is that teen boys won’t be stealing the catalogs anymore….

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